tv Morning Joe MSNBC February 20, 2017 3:00am-6:01am PST
a special honor for john f. kennedy, the forever stamp featuring the 35th commander in chief will go on display and available for that is extraordinary! that does it for us on this monday. "morning joe" starts right now. thomas jefferson, andrew jackson, and abraham lincoln, and many of our greatest presidents fought with the media and called them out oftentimes on their lies. when the media lies to people, i will never, ever, let them get away with it. i will do whatever i can that they don't get away with it. thomas jefferson said nothing can be believed which is seen in a newspaper. truth, itself, he said, becomes
suspicious by being put into that polluted vehicle. that was june 14th -- my birthday -- 1807. >> well, good morning. that was the president speaking at his campaign event on friday -- or actually saturday in florida. just a little context for that quote, though. "the washington post" and others have noted when president thomas jefferson wrote that letter, he was imbittered by reports of political opponents that are spreading newspaper stories that he was sleeping with sally hemmings, one of his slaves. today, most historians believe she was the mother of six of his children and months before the constitutional convention and throughout his entire career, jefferson's actual view of newspapers, quite different. in fact, right before the constitutional convention when they were debating what role
newspapers when the media should have, thomas jefferson wrote, were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, i should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter. just a little context this morning. speaking of presidents. good morning. it's monday, february 20th. presidents' day. mika and willie have the morning off. my gosh. what a huge political weekend. in case of emergency, you break glass. well, we broke glass because of the political emergency happening this weekend and brought in our great political analyst, the coauthors of "game change" mark halpern and john heilemann. also with us we have veteran columnist and nbc contributor mike barnicle. contributor "time" magazine msnbc political analyst and former aide to the george w. bush white house and state departments elise johnson.
and in washington, pulitzer prize winning his tore january, jon meacham. mark halpern, let's start with the heated war with the press and as always with donald trump, he takes it one step too far. a couple of weeks i think a lot of republicans, i don't think i know. a lot of republicans on capitol hill were really frightened, really spooked when he started going after federal judges and they told me that behind the scenes. this weekend they had to deal with the fact that he actually did what dictators do when they first get in power and start attacking the press. he actually called the media, quote, the enemy of the american people. any precedence for that at all? >> i think nixon the closest president, but this has been the dominant stories. lots of stories home and abroad over the weekend. we will start what is the
dominant story even though it was set off on friday. this is a friday tweet by president trump. when the president tweeted on friday, the fake news media failing "the new york times" and abc news and nbc and cbs and cnn is not my enemy, the enemy of the american people! reince priebus, the chief of the white house, said -- >> should we it that seriously from him? >> i think you should take it seriously. i think the problem we have got is we are talking about bogus stories like the one in "the new york times" that we have had constant contact with russian officials. the next day, "the wall street journal" had a story that the intel community was not giving the president a full intelligence briefing. both stories grossly inaccurate, overstated, overblown, and it's total garbage. so we spend, you know, 48 hours on bogus stories and the
american people suffer. >> reporter: the enemy? >> the theory is the press is supposed to be a free forum of information to -- to speak to the american people. i think it ought to be accurate. >> there is nothing wrong with people in both parties, as they have done for years taking issue what the press does in terms of accuracy, but members of the president's own party are in strong disagreement of what he said. the defense secretary james mattis. >> sir, president trump has said that this week that the press is the enemy of the american people. do you agree? >> i've had some rather contentious times with the press, but, no, the press, as far as i'm concerned, are a constituency that we deal with and i don't have any issues with the press myself. >> i have great respect for the
press. i was once in the press. the key, though, is not to be oversensationalizing anything but get to the facts, let the investigation of the press go where it wants, tell the story. it's a part of america and it's a part of an institution that works to make sure that things have balance. >> i hate the press. i hate you, especially. but the fact is we need you. we need a free press. must have. it's vital. if you want to preserve democracy as we know it, you have to have a free and many times adversarial press. without it, i'm afraid that we would lose so much of our individual liberties over time. that's how dictators get started. >> that's how dictators get started with tweets like that? with -- no. they get start by suppressing free press. i'm not saying that president trump is trying to be a
dictator. i'm just saying we need to learn the lessons of history. >> john, how is this trump generated controversy different in terms of what he did and how people are reacting? >> well, look. he has been waging war on the press for a while but i have to say this language is really, you know, far outside -- it's not like nixon you said it before. enemy of the people is pretty far outside of what is the standard republican playbook of attacking like nick confessore of "the new york times" and other places. there's -- the administrations take offense when they are criticized and challenged. i think when you see this inside the administration itself it seems beyond the pale. joe, my question for you is, you know, we all -- i think most people at this table were alive and politically conscious at the time of the oklahoma city bombings. any tie donald trump uses this
kind of language i always worry it's an incitement of elements to our country that might go ahead and do something when the president of the united states calls the press the enemy of the people. that they might take that seriously. does that concern you? >> well, know the thing is you try to take a lot of what you get, the incoming in stride. i know a lot of people love to retweet the death threats they get and the nasty things they get, but when you receive tweets every day and somebody is threatening your life and they talk about lynching you and your family after president trump has his way with the media, this happens over and over again and i don't think there is anybody that is in the media that doesn't hear that every day. so, yes, there are unbalanced people on the left, there are unbalanced people on the right, there are unbalanced people that support donald trump as well. so, yeah, this is very, very
dangerous. and as chris wallace said yesterday on -- i thought it was significant on fox news sunday, the president crossed a line. we republicans talking about myself -- you know, i hear john mccain saying, well, i hate you, i hate the press. he is not joking! we grow up with the press being biased and beating us up and always giving our democratic opponent every benefit of the doubt. that's just part of the playing field. and it's one thing to say the press is liberal and one thing to say the ninth circuit is liberal, but when you start saying that somebody has -- is an enemy of the people, then that does incite people to violence, especially if it's coming from the president of the united states. mike barnicle, what is so rich about donald trump, talking about fake news and reince priebus talking about stories that are inaccurate, there's a president who, from the second he got into office, was lying
about crowd sizes, that were verifiably false if you look at satellite images. lied last week in a press conference having the largest electoral college victory since reagan. that was a lie as well. lied about the crime rate being at 47-year high when it was at a 47-year low, except for last year when we had a slight bump-up. then, of course, the terror attack in sweden this weekend. as jesus said, i mean, you know, don't throw stones if you live in glass houses. this man lives in the biggest glass house there is when it comes to a disconnection from the truth. to attack the media and say they are enemy of the people is beyond the pail. >> my view we need no defense. our defense occurs each and every day that a newspaper is printed in a big city or a small town in this country. >> or we fire up the cameras
here. >> yeah. but the evidence is in what we have done through history, help bring wars like vietnam to full focus for the american people, help people on an everyday basis. the problem here, the danger here, i would submit, is when he says the fake news media is the enemy of the american people. that's a slow slide to immigrants are the enemy of the american people. unions are the enemy of the american people. people in massachusetts and new hampshire or any other state that didn't vote for me, trump, are the enemy of the american people. it's a slow slide to that i would submit. >> look. i am -- the people are my boss. i work for them. and they are a tough boss but i'm not their enemy. i am their employee. that is the importance of journalism in a country like america and i think it's atrocious to see him do it and it's sad and obvious. a way of pushing accountability his own mistakes and his own problems away from the white
house. >> predictable response of the failing of "the new york times." >> by the way, let's say, though, john, let's talk about something that donald trump wouldnd. ratings. let's just put it all out on the table. everybody's ratings are up. newspaper subscriptions at the "the new york times" are exploding. "the washington post" doing better than it's ever done before. the failing -- cnn. you know, from the day that donald trump called them fake news, cnn's numbers have exploded. donald trump has been jeff zucker -- you can tell -- there is nothing donald trump can do to help cnn more than what he has been doing. they are enjoying record numbers. "the new york times" record subscriptions. you would think somebody around him would be smart enough to say, you know, actually if you really hate jeff zucker and you hate "the new york times," the best thing you could on do is invite them over to dinner and
make peace. he just not smart enough to figure that out, i guess. >> president trump leaving one important and very nice european nation collectably scratching its heads after seemingly eluded to a terrorist track in that company and other immigration policies during a rally in florida over the weekend. >> we have got to keep our country safe. you look at what is happening. we have got to keep our country safe. you look at what is happening last night in sweden. sweden, who would believe this? twen sweden took in large numbers and having problems like they never thought possible. >> who would believe there? sweden? there was no attack on friday night in sweden. one sweden tabloid said some incidents occurred in that country across the night but fire in stockholm to a highway closed because of weather and a
popular swedish singer who is one of my favorites he experienced technical difficulties during a rehearsal for competition, but aside from that, it was quite in sweden. the embassy released a statement on the matter saying, quote. former swedish prime minister karl bilt was seeking answers tweeting out, sweden? terror attack? what has he been smoking? questions abound. the president tweeted yesterday a clarification. my statement as to what is happening in sweden was in reference to a story broadcast on fox news concerning immigrants in sweden. that is part of a segment friday night with a documentary film making reporting rising violence in sweden because of domestic immigrants. >> perhaps no nation on earth is more committed to accepting foreign my grants.
hors owe witnesses is a filmmaker and went to sweden to chronicle its experience. >> do you see the violence going across sweden in the cities? >> at least one or two a week. >> did anyone say five years ago, how often would you say it was? >> three times a year. >> i like that music! >> fantastic! trump's sweden comments have many people calling other incidents by the trump administration where they have cited nonexistent terror attacks for the travel ban. >> i bet there is more coverage. i bet brand new coverage that president obama had a ban on two iraqis came here radicalized and most people don't know that because it didn't get covered. >> i don't think you have to look on any farther than the
families that were -- of the boston marathon in atlanta, in san bernardino, to ask if we can go further. there is, obviously, steps we can and should be taking and i think the president is going to continue to do what he can to make sure this country is as safe as possible. >> spicer said he meant orlando, not atlanta. for her part kellyanne conway later tweeted out honest mistakes abound. jon meacham, in our business you get a few of these in a row and a trend story here. what do you make of the pattern of the president and his people? >> there was a phrase in "the art of the deal," trump said he doesn't make things up. he speaks in truthful hyperbole. he is trapped and creating his own narrative. it's only been, what? six days? seven days? less than time it took god to make the world, since mike flynn
resigned and now we are worried about the existential crisis of the first amendment. you know? 24, 48 hours, it was russia. now it's the future of free speech. and lord knows what he'll say in the next little while. so one of the questions i have, just for the political metabolism of the country, is can we continue at this rate? it's in the president's interest because as we go from skirmish to skirmish to skirmish, we don't have time to stop and i think take a full assessment. somebody said -- i think yesterday, chris wallace said he had crossed a line. i think we are way past lines. >> yeah. >> there are none. so the question is did this balance between eternal vigilance, which is another thomas jefferson quote that is more relevant.
eternal vilgs vigilance is the price of liberty and just becoming exhausted by this. >> the bit of good news, jon mee meacham that we were talking about last night some of that vigilance was shown last night. saying our party shouldn't investigate one another is just sad and depressing. there were and have been a lot of republicans and conservatives that have stepped up. that is good news. but you are exactly right. we are talking about -- what we are talking about his lying about false attacks in sweden and lying about all of these other things and talking about his outrageous statement on friday which i really wanted to get your opinion on saying enemies of the people is straight out of a mousslini
playbook. we are looking at front businesses that they believe may have acted as fronts between donald trump and the russian government, and all of the contacts that have occurred through the year. and so there are all of these different distractions, while you also have investigations going. as you said, an nsa director already knocked out because of a lie about russia. this is moving at such a speed that it does seem, from everybody i talk to, on both sides of the aisle, unsustainable is the word i constantly hear. >> yes. i think to his political benefit, the unsustainability is to his political benefit, because the resistance, the opposition, has a hard time figuring out, you know, which, you know, which set of hair that is on fire is the one that
determinative. meanwhile, you know, the ordinary processes of governance, of talking about politics, of understanding conflicting interests, is just off to the side. so the normalization of chaos, i think is the hallmark of the moment and i'm not sure how to fix it. >> elise a big swirl but joe pointed out that reuters story he retweeted and people should take a look at. how big of a deal are the russian investigations are? are they a distraction or potentially something that can blot out anything the administration wants to get done? >> i think it's definitely something that can hijack their agenda the next two years. this story is absolutely incredible you have a russian mobster involved and someone who trump knew in the late 2000s and coming around, you know, to a deposition in, i think, 2013 claimed he didn't know him. suddenly, he surfaces again. you've got trump's attorney michael cohen surfacing with a
sealed envelope at the white house with some ukraine plot. there is a lot swirling around here. these are the issues we should really be focusing in on and just let the insults in the press as much as i'm concerned about it, as much as i think it threatens the fibers of our democracy, this is so serious right now what is going on in that we have no idea about how the administration is going to pursue a foreign policy. >> two big russian stories. one in "the new york times" about this proposed peace plan. the reuters story flushes out some of the details of what they say are three separate justice department investigations into the president's and his associate's ties with russia. >> he has no business with russia and no loans there and he has nothing, according to him, nothing. >> there is a third as well. jim comey's appearance before the senate intelligence committee which i've heard from a couple of different sources was like, whoa. >> marco rubio leading that meeting and saying we are going to take this incredibly seriously. >> mark, there are lies that
donald trump tells and there are lies that bill clinton told. as i always day, david says he was an incredibly good liar. but there are times you look in the camera like he did with monica lewinsky and made his utterance that stuck. you look at donald trump saying i've had no business dealings with russia and he just says that point blank. i think these stories that you come com out, i think the political problems that follow, if there are all of these front businesses, are in insour mountable for him. >> the justice department that hillary clinton blames in large part for her loss is now pretty big threat to donald trump's administration. >> let's not forget that donald trump jr. is on the record a couple of years ago saying that russia wra
russia was a huge part of the trump family business. >> i think he said the majority of the money they made, they made from russia. >> pretty important contradiction. >> coming up later on "morning joe," the former ambassador to sweden mark brinzezinski will tk about the reaction in sweden and a story jon meechapeopleage cald of amazing and tell but that. and nick's latest reporting on the culture inside donald trump's club in florida mar-a-lago where he spent a third weekend and later, more town halls for republicans and more tough questions for members of congress in both parties. we will look at that. you're watching "morning joe" and we will be right back. look closely. hidden in every swing, every chip, and erputt, is data at can make the difference between winning and losing.
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joe." mark halpern and john heilemann, if you're like me, you have spent this presidents' day weekend, obviously, in mourning, listening to abbott gold. i know i have. and watching old beta max tapes of bjorn borg. we need to be in solidarity with our sweden brothers? >> i bought something this weekend from ikea. >> there are so many contradictions in this administration and actually i think right now the biggest problem, mark, the right hand doesn't know what the left hand is ever doing. donald trump comes out and says one thing about mosul and then
is completely contradicted the next day by somebody on his staff. talk about the mosul contradiction this weekend. i could list a hundred of them starting with the press and trump and mattis. but let's just talk about mosul right now. >> this is a seemingly pretty big contradiction and involves something seriously which is how donald trump will conduct himself at commander in chief. iraqi forces have the latest effort to expel the islamic state. it comes as whether information should be revealed in advance of efforts to fight american opposition forces overseas, including the terror group. during thursday's news conference, president trump pushed back when he was asked to offer details of what these battle plans were going to be. >> i'm not going to tell you about what response i'm going to do. i'm not talking about i'm going into mosul for four months. we are going to attack mosul four months and three months later, we are going to attack
mosul. in one week, one week we are going to attack mosul. mosul is very, very difficult. you know why? i don't talk about military and certain other things. >> so the commander in chief says never talk about the plans in advance and then, yesterday, u.s. central command announced the beginning of this long anticipated operation to retake mos mosul. the commander of the u.s. led attack said it will be a tough fight for any army in the world. you'll recall that during the campaign, president trump hammered former president obama for announcing operations against isis, including in mosul, before they got under way. >> what you do is you do a sneak attack or a surprise attack. right? right? we are too predictable. here is obama. we believe they are in mosul, so in three or four months, let's see. he goes, three or four months, we will be attacking mosul
because we want to get the leaders of isis. okay. well, in the meantime the following day, they are out of there. >> look at mosul. for years i've heard that is where the isis leaders are. they are staying at mosul. so what do we do? instead of element of surprise, what do we do? what a disaster! but why can't we do it like secretly, right? why can't we do this quietly? i've been reading about we are going to attack mosul now and you have to, for three months. and i'm saying, you know, the element of surprise, right? >> joe, is this something like media nit-picking or does this expose something about the campaign promise and tactic of the president? >> i think what it does, it shows, ones again, there a huge difference between running for president and being president. barack obama swore he was going to shut down gitmo right away.
he was there eight years and figured he couldn't shut down debit know. elise jordan, the president campaigns like it's 1944 and he is going to have a sneak attack across the english channel for d-day. it is 2017. there are satellites all over the place and tles no sneak attack in the middle of the desert. if you move any troops around everybody will know that. yes, we will have a sneak attack. no, not even in the middle of the night. is there no sneak attack. this is one more example of donald trump talking big on on the campaign trail and becoming elected president of the united states and learning what all presidential candidates learn. it's a little bit tougher once you're in there. >> this rhetoric really bothered me on the campaign trail because it was so ignorant and showed no curiosity and understanding what it's like for a modern military to wage a battle like this. what is more concerning now is that he is actually commander in chief and is still making the
exact same statements and hasn't tried to fill that knowledge vacuum at all. he just has absolutely no curiosity about these operations, where we have substantial number of american forces helping iraqi forces on the ground there. >> but john heilemann, again, the trump smoke screens, the trump distractions, whether you're talking about the press, we are talking about the press instead of an fbi investigation. here, we are talking about what trump says about mosul that is not accurate. and, yet, the breaking news is that barack obama and donald trump together will be remembered, if donald trump can keep it together long enough to stay in office, donald trump, along with barack obama, will be remembered as the two presidents, most likely who defeat isis, certainly on the ground. we have made great progress under barack obama and i suspect we will make great progress under james mattis and donald
trump in these campaigns. this is isis on the run. >> it is sincerely to be wished that is the outcome we end up with and i think everyone can agree on that. i will say this pattern again with trump. this is a much more serious thing, but, you know, there he is down golfing at mar-a-lago having spent the last couple of years attacking barack obama for golfing too much and he goes to mar-a-lago every weekend to golf. so, you know, the contradictions of hypocrisy are on display. >> and say they are there to take the oil in iraq. >> mattis is doing an incredible job of annotating everything the president says. >> they actually all did, mike barnicle, this weekend. if you look what mattis said, if you look at what the vice president said, if you've looked at what rex tillerson has been saying, if you look at what
donald trump's cabinet is saying, it is all very comforting to our allies. if donald trump could just get in line with his own policy and show a little bit of discipline -- i'm dead serious! the rest of the world would be much better off this morning than it is. >> there you go. there is the key phrase right there. "our allies." that clip we just played of president trump talking about he is not going to give up his secret plans, you know, to invite mo invade mosul. we are not invading moosshiple. the iraqi army is invading mosul and has to reliberate their country and iraqi army is part of our allies and we have numbers of american troops on the ground as advisers, but this is not our job. it's the iraqi army's job. >> i really do like the idea of the trump cabinet rising up and tell the world, pay no attention to the president of the united states. coming up, the vice president tries to reassure our allies while overseas that the u.s. will hold russia accountedable, but now reporting this morning that the
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congress can investigate this president thoroughly, if necessary? >> i hope so and i have to believe so. >> before i let you go -- >> owner hope and believe. >> if you're worried that we are not going to look long and hard at what russia did in our election because trump won and republicans in charge, you don't need to worry about that. we are. and 2017 is going to be a year of kicking russia in the ass in congress. >> senators john mccain and lindsey graham whether congress is going to investigate the president's ties to russia. the kremlin is watching all of it. we are going live to moscow with bill neely up next.
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relevant to the committee's investigation of russia which is growing by the day and we are getting a look at how the russian government is playing out. with us now is nbc news global correspondent bill neely. bill, fascinating reporting. the russians are taking a close look at trump and figuring out his weaknesses and figuring out more. what are you learning? >> reporter: the kremlin is watching events in washington very closely and with growing alarm. of course, they actually want donald trump to succeed as president because they hope he will lift u.s. sanctions on russia. but as you say, they are also now looking inside his mind. behind the walls of the kremlin, they are preparing vladimir putin for a first meeting with america's president. >> everything is under
preparation. >> reporter: compiling a dossier on donald trump's mental strengths and weaknesses. >> pages describing psychological of trump, especially based on the last two or three months. >> reporter: the kremlin experts believe mr. trump can be naive. >> he doesn't understand fully who is mr. putin. he's a tough guy. >> reporter: he picks risky fights, they believe, like with the media. >> he is dancing on thin ice. it's a risky game. >> reporter: and relies on his intuition more than his advisers. >> if he listen to the people, for sale in areas where he is weak. >> reporter: the kremlin is watching president trump's problems over russia, including losing his national security adviser with growing alarm. according to putin's former prime minister. he is laughing in the kremlin of what is happening in washington? >> absolutely not. not laughing. it is very serious and the whole team, they nervous.
>> reporter: in the kremlin, they want president trump to end u.s. sanctions against russia, and to improve relations. but they are worried at signs that he is getting tougher on russia and may not deliver. many believe hard liners in america want to sabotage the president and his russia plans. some even talk here of a conspiracy. >> intelligence services against president donald trump. they want to overthrow him. >> reporter: they want to overthrow him? >> yaeah, a small coup. >> reporter: so far, no date has been set for that summit, although people here are talking about april or may. he says mr. putin is preparing for a new donald trump, a deal-maker, a pragmatist, and he is not preparing for easy talks. joe? >> all right. thank you so much, bill. we greatly appreciate it, as always.
mark halpern, one problem. if you have donald trump wanting to ease sanctions right now, not a great time to do it. obviously, with all of these russian investigations going but when you have lindsey graham saying 2017 is going to be the year that congress kicks rus russia's ass, his words, not mine. john mccain is ready to move there and you're already 50/50 and look at ben sasse and jeff flake and a lot can't do it in their home distributions, it ll be hard for donald trump to do anything sanctions that even paul ryan has said that he wants to codify the sanctions. i don't know how they get that done, even if trump wants to create this sweetheart deal with vladimir putin. >> yeah, i mean, you look in europe and you look in washington. you look around the foreign policy establishment. donald trump is isolated on this to some extent within his own
government if he wants to get moving. as you said, the investigations would make doing anything very hard and those are going to play out with subpoena power in various places over a long period of time. >> should we mention the reuters report? a couple of pieces that is interesting and important. what are they? >> reporter he's say pittsburgh and washington and california offices looking at this and the congressional investigation. reuters in the last paragraph say they confirm what "the new york times" reported and the white house, the president shot down which is that there is evidence of contact between the president's associates and russian intelligence during the campaign. >> it is a short story but has an incredible number of nuggets in it that seem to suggest that their story has not just legs, but legs like marathon runner legs. >> talk about your story today which we have eluded to but haven't talked about in detail about this notion of a plan floated through the president's associates maybe directly to the
white house about trying to broker a peace deal between the russians and ukraine? >> this story by some colleagues of mine talks about how there is a freelance peace deal at work between the ukraine and russia floated by the president's lawyer and people he has worked on business in russia before. >> wait. i thought he has no business ties? >> exactly. so, in fact, he has pursued business in russia for years and years and years. it shows how outside the lions, the trump foreign policy works. that they have sort of people around him, freelance people, friends, associates, guys who are working on these things outside of the channels of diplomacy. and it just goes to show you how loose it is and how easily it could become dangerous for the president if those people are not coloring inside the lines. >> a complicated debate and important story. >> it is complicated. also, mark halpern, what is so dangerous, as nick confessore
said you have all of these free agents inside the trump administration, lawyers, friends, relatives, who all see themselves as roving secretary of states, whether it's his lawyer saying, hey, i'm going to color outside the line, the had heel -- hell with rex tillerson or jared kushner as seen as a roving secretary of state. while rex tillerson keeps getting boxed out of absolutely everything. this is dangerous. one more example of how the right hand doesn't know what the left hand is doing. and at some point rex tillerson has to say i'm your secretary of state or i'm not your secretary of state. if you want your son-in-law to be secretary of state, call him that. if you want your lawyer to be secretary of state, call him that. this is no way to run a government. this is no way to run a foreign policy. this is no way to run a state
department and rex tillerson, at some point, has to be given the power or he needs to leave. >> i put this in same category as i put the press conference. shocking, but not surprising. joining us now from washington, a former executive director of the -- wmd commission regular guest here and she is a senior fellow and spent part of the weekend in germany. >> i did. >> are europeans in particular, are they more unsettled by donald trump's policies right now or by his behavior? >> i think both, honestly. if i could say something about the segment bill neely did on russia. i think the russians have rg severe buyer's remorse. the fact they would come out and talk about their psychological profiling and alarm about president trump tells me they
are backing away so i wanted to get that out there. in europe they are alarmed across the board on everything trump has said. his attacks on the pillars of western society, things like the media, which you guys have talked about, of course, a lot on the show. they are also worried that they don't see a real foreign policy. so we talked about this weird proposal coming from the outside, but what is this administration's foreign policy on russia? and are they going to stand really behind europe, the west, the whole western system that we set up after world war ii? the reason we have had peace since world war ii all the way until now on a global scale is because of the institutions we set up. i was traveling with the congressional delegation. i spoke on a panel. but the highlight really was when senator mccain got on the stage and said, look, we are in a dangerous moment right now. this is about, fine, you can stand with europe and with nato, but it's about standing behind our institutions, our values. everything that has made america safe up until now. and we haven't heard a message like that from president trump.
we need that message from him. that is what the europeans said too. all of the meetings and discussions we had on the sidelines they were saying it's fine for vice president trump to say what we hoped he would say but we need to hear from president trump. >> doctor, elise here. you spoke a little bit about the vice president. i was wondering if you could talk locality more how his remarks were received and there are a lot of surrogates for president trump going around with the right message such as secretary mattis but donald trump isn't saying that message himself. if you could talk a little bit about the reception to vice president pence. >> sure. vice president pence gave a speech. it was very much, very anticipated. you know, the room was full. i will say when he made his remarks, the applause was sort of half-hearted. again, i think everybody felt that it's fine that he is saying that we stand behind the -- he actually said president trump stands behind europe and nato.
i think everybody in the room felt like we need to hear from president trump because just a few days ago, president trump was making alarming statements in that press conference and everything he said about how he is going to deal with russia makes people in europe very nervous. chancellor merkel also spoke about that. she said we stand behind ukraine but it's not about ukraine, it's about our international order. you can't just go changing borders by force and not suffering any consequences. and if we go into a full-blown cooperation with russia and don't hold them accountable, the danger the whole western system will collapse. >> right. >> dr. farcus, thank you for joining us. >> thy. -- thank you. >> still ahead on "morning joe." >> i'm here to listen. let me throw one out. let me throw one out that i am very supportive of. ho about -- how about our -- where do people -- where do
people stand? >> that is the kind of chaos and aggressiveness making it hard to be a congressional republican right now. we are going to congressman tom reed you saw there being protested at one of his town halls in his district over the weekend but not only republicans having to answer questions about the president. "the washington post" bob costa joins us with his new reporting. "morning joe" is back in a moment. ♪ take me to the riot ♪ ♪ only at&t offers you all your live channels and dvr on your devices. data-free. entertainment. your way. only from at&t. z2a1gz zx9z
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when the president says -- >> hang up. >> freeze. >> regulation of the american people. >> something else. >> going against him you're going against the country. >> here is the problem, chris. the problem is that you're right. some of these things were covered but a interview with netanyahu. the prime minister of uk. >> everybody covered those news conferences. >> right, sure. yeah, right. but as soon as it was over, the next 20 hours is all about russian spies. >> but you don't get to tell us what to do. >> nothing is smapg. >> you don't get to tell us what to do any more than barack obama did. barack obama whined about fox news all the time but he never we were an enemy of the people. >> good for chris wallace, man.
>> every president hates the president and the democrats you grow up believing that and knowing that. that is a battlefield you fight on. you never call the press the enemy of the people. that crosses a line. as chris wallace said, god bless chris wallace, john mccain, and others who said something that every other republican needs to come out and say. welcome back to "morning joe." it's monday, february 20th. it is presidents' day. mika and willie have the morning on. we have with us the coauthors of "game change" mark halpern and john heilemann and with us is mike barnicle and contributor to "time" magazine elise jordan and nick confessore and jon meacham
and joining us also is robert costa of "the washington post." the disturbing news of the weekend came friday afternoon when the president decided to beat the rush to attacking american institutions and instead of attacking the independent judiciary on saturday morning, as he did a few saturdays ago, he went full mussolini and called the press the enemy of the people. is there any other precedent for a president saying this publicly? they all think it privately. nixon actually told it to other advisers privately. but has any president ever said anything like that over the last 240 years, calling them, quote, the enemy of the people? >> not in the sense where you would have a huge blanket statement. presidents have been outraged by specific stories. the jefferson quotation that the president used in his rally was
specifically about a sally hemming story that, of course, as dr. kissinger would say, had the virtue of being true. so that was a problem. but no. i think one of the things that we are seeing with the entire trump presidency is, you know, we have this sort of -- it's like having those old x-ray vision glasses, you know, from the comic books. just everything that everyone else thought, he says. and it is different. you can feel something. you could be outraged by feeling self-pity. self-pity among the great is a huge themes of shakespeare. that is a perennial force. but what we are seeing here is self-pity as almost performance art. and it's not a great quality of leadership. it is, in fact, corrosive. as we have been saying, we talk about him crossing lines. but where are these lines now? we are in this sort of normalized chaos.
>> i mean, the lines, unfortunately, have gotten to a point, jon, that you celebrate the fact that republican senators actually quote the first amendment and their twitter feed. >> it's a big moment. >> it's frightening times when we take comfort in republican senators actually confirming the foundations of this republic. bob costa, the president, obviously, says he doesn't look at the polls. he does look at the polls. the last two polls gallup has him down in the 30s and so does pew. he does a campaign style event. >> based on my reporting i think we can expect to see more of these rallies. if you look at the recent poll numbers, while his unpopularity numbers are not promising for the white house. when you look at his numbers among republicans, among base
voters, president trump is quite strong and so as they plod forward with this congressional agenda, perhaps on tax reform and health care, keeping those republicans, that populace base with him is going to be key. >> a big story in "the new york times" followed up by "the washington post" and others now. it reports that some of president trump's associates have been working behind the scenes on a way to lift sanctions against russia. this proposed deal would come in the form of a peace plan between russia and ukraine. according to "the times" among those pushing is his personal lawyer michael cohen and long time business associate. the men told the paper they did not speak to the president go. nothing illegal here. but it is raising a lot of questions in the context of the overall relationship with russia. here is the vice president pence speaking on the russian/ukraine issue over the weekend. >> with regard to ukraine we must hold russia accountable and
they honor the agreements by the violence in and ukraine. know this. the united states will continue to hold russia accountable, even as we search for new common ground as you know, president trump believes to cobe found. >> this policy discussion is coming in the context of the administration still being pressed over allegations that the trump campaign had repeated contacts with russian intelligence during the election. >> can he say, definitively, nobody in his campaign, nobody that he's been associated with, had any contacts with any russian agents? >> no. first of all, the answer ais no. we don't know of any contacts with russian agents. i know what the intelligence committees in the house and senate were told by the fbi and i know what i was told. what i will tell you that story was totally baloney. >> can americans be confident that a republican-controlled
congress can investigate this president thoroughly, if necessary? >> i hope so and i have to believe so. >> before i let you go -- >> or hope and believe. >> if you're worried that werpt going to look long and hard at what russia did in our election because trump won and republicans are in charge, you don't need to worry about that. we are. and 2017 is going to be a year of kicking russia in the ass in congress. >> so senate aide confirms to nbc news that the bipartisan leadership of the senate intelligence committee has sent letters to more than a dozen individuals, agencies, and organizations directing them all to preserve records relevant to the committee's investigation did. mike, reuters say they have matched "the new york times" report which i think is the biggest story in the last several weeks saying contacts between trump associates and
russian intelligence officials. not diplomats but intelligence officials during the campaign. you saw there reince priebus denies it. is it true that there were contacts? or are they simply being investigated and it's all going to go away? >> listen. the fbi doesn't fool around and you don't get leaks out of the fbi unless there is something to the leaks. you have field offices of the fbi in san francisco and pittsburgh and teams in washington, d.c. all honing in on one specific thing -- contacts between trump's people during the campaign and the trump administration today. you've had mike flynn already leave because of something having to do with russia obvious. now the president's own personal law, michael cohen, a lawyer outside of government, acting as day fact secretary of state. all of this combustible chaos. all of this lead to a couple of
questions. russians contacts with the trump administration. what does the secretary of state rex tillerson do? where is he in all of this. >> no doubt this is what insiders are talking about now the series of russian investigations with subpoena power and legislative branch that the administration has to deal with. at a minimum it's a distraction and could be a lot more. >> and it is -- you talk about tempting fate or flying too close to the sun? or however you want to put it. nick confessore, while we are having these russian investigations going on, you have trump's people talking about helping out the russians with ukrainian sanctions. you have them starting to whisper about the possibility of bringing vladimir putin to the united states for a state visit. you have all of these things happening. no, i'm not joking. they are. they are talking about doing that right now. it's like they are tempting
fate. like they want to drive the bus straight off the cliff! >> sometimes it feels, joe, that this presidency is running on two tracks. there is the white house and the senior staff and there is the cabinet. so the cabinet is out there saying, be tough on russia. follow agreements internationally. the white house senior staff is out there saying, don't worry about it and have the president of russia here. i don't get it unless there are more facts we don't know. once the subpoenas start to fly if the investigators it is very bad news for the white house when that process begins. >> elise jordan, you worked in the state department and with condy rice. rex tillerson is the odd man out and sources close to tillerson say i haven't talked to him but sources close to tillerson say he is not happy. he is being boxed out.
now you have michael cohen playing secretary of state with ukraine and russia? you have jared kushner playing secretary of state in the middle east? this is a tough powerful, strong guy. at what point does he go into the oval office and say, i'm either your secretary of state or your son-in-law is your secretary of state. which is it, mr. want? >> for all of the reasons that we were excited about rex tillerson, a commanding businessman with a really long successful track record of working in countries just globally, at the same time, he's just not going to take it that long, joe. and i think that you look at the state department right now and it's essentially a ghost town. they haven't given a press briefing in a month and no one can really speak on the record for the state department. you have tillerson going to, you know, the g-10 summit late so he had to stay at a sanatorium
outside of where the actual event was. it seems everything is done on the fly and he is being completely shut out of these major visits with the prime minister of canada, with japan. it is not looking good for rex tillerson and i just don't see where he tolerates this very long. >> on top of that, john heilemann, he had his number two that would have helped him being able to play the bureaucratic game but trump wouldn't let him select his own number two. so, right now, white house insiders are telling me he's got somebody that is helping him out, but has no idea how to keep up with the fast pace of what is going on. so he's not even allowed to put his team together. >> right. you're talking about elliott abrams to be donald trump's number two and shown some thing that abrams wrote during the
campaign and at that point abrams was thrown to the scrap heap. important next big personnel issue in front of the administration is the replacement for michael flynn. that is something that trump has been focused on. he spent sunday interviewing candidates for that vacant spot at the head of the national security adviser. as we said, after michael flynn had to make a sudden exit. being vetted are the following. be the search goes on without some of the people who were suns said at the top of the list. harward opted not to take the job. petraeus would not take the assignment unless he was able to pick his own staff and many have
been widely criticized as unqualified. over the weekend "the wall street journal" reported the following. the white house vehemently denied those reports. >> reporter: are you staying steve bannon the new nsa director saying i don't want steve bannon as a part of the security council? >> the president has said clearly the new nsa director will have total and complete say over the makeup of the nsc and all of the components of the nsc and there is no demand made by president trump on any candidate for nsa director. >> including -- >> so, again -- >> very unusual to have a political or onnive in that role. >> so those reports that you're citing, those are more fake news stories that are completely untrue. >> you got a couple of different issues here. one of them is the question of like whether the new nsa, whoever it is, will have control
over his staff. the other it seems to me is the sudden emergence of john bolton who is hard to think of somebody being an honest broker which is part of the criticism of flynn he was too ideological. >> i don't think you will have taea test of what reince priebus said. i think he overhe reacted. i don't think the national security adviser should have a free hand in picking everybody. you'd like to see the chief of staff and president himself have influence who is on the staff. >> yeah. you're right. there are, though, two issues. one is k.t. mcfarland, which every one of these candidates believes is woefully unprepared -- to the nsc. at the nsc. everybody is saying inside of washington and everybody on the nsc is saying that,' apparently donald trump is going to the wall defending her because he
liked watching her on fox news. the second, of course is steve bannon. there is not one of these professionals, not one of these generals, not one of these people that would want steve bannon on there as well. so i think it's one more example of this inner circle causing chaos to permeate through the entire government. you have the president of the united states who is selected on foreign policy side, bob costa, real professionals, people with extraordinary experience, and extraordinary abilities. he has done the same with picking pence, a guy that is extraordinarily capable of going and representing the united states well. but all of the chaos that has emanated from this white house over the past month, you can start with the executive order, it's all come from that small inner circle inside the white house, specifically from everything i hear, the bannon/miller wing. >> that wing has created a
culture inside of the west wing that is about loyalty, that is about adherence to their world view and that is why general mcmaster remains the favorite among many national security people within the administration. but don't count out ambassador bolton. he is someone who knows trump through his television appearances, his work, and he could click with k.t. mcfarland and work with steve bannon. another benefit for bolton behind the scenes over the weekend is that not only is he seen someone who would work well with the trump people but all of the hawks in washington, from the bush administration. their support of bolton, not everyone, of course, but they see bolton as someone to get a hawk inside of that white house. >> mark, i was very critical of the idea that john bolton be secretary of state. but if you want a hawk on russia, it would be hard to find somebody that has said more disparaging things about
vladimir putin publicly than john bolton. >> it would take rand paul off the trump train because he is no fan of bolton either. this pick is a big deal. >> rand paul, right now, is the conductor of the trump train, saying nothing to see here on his attacks against the judic l judiciary and the attacks against the press and nothing to see on the russian investigation. i have never seen a 180 more than rand paul. >> he would flip back again if the pick is -- goes that way. the world and the country are waiting for a strong national security pick and see if the president can do it in short order. bob costa, thanks so much. >> thank you. ahead, did president trump just admit the republicans need senate democrats in order to get obamacare repealed and replaced? we are going to talk about the chances of that happening. we are also going to be joined by the former ambassador to sweden mark brzezinski and he
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welcome back to the special with all due respect edition of "morning joe." time for replacing the affordable care act is influx. trump said a plan would come within a weeks and it will require 60 votes in the senate and republicans need to work with democrats and something the president brought up at his florida rally. >> it's also time for the senate democrats to take responsibility for obamacare and to work with us to replace it with new reforms that reverse this nationwide health care tragedy. it's a tragedy.
i said to the republicans, i said, you want to do something great politically? don't do anything. sit back for two years, let it explode. the democrats will come and beg for us to do something but we can't do that to the american people. we have to fix it. and we will. >> so as soon as he said this, the halpern radar went off and you were like decoding what this trump thing meant for the future of health care? >> up until now he has not said much about this, if at all, about the need to get democratic votes and not just on health care. tax reform and infrastructure, possible? maybe without democratic votes but very unlikely and unlikely to fill his vision on policy without losing some republicans and gaining some democrats. big he said it but i don't think you can point to too much what he has done since sworn in that fa fostered possibility for democrats to work with them on getting health care done. >> it also just basically screams to the notion of like we don't have the votes to do this. >> right. >> this whole, you know, years
of first day in office, we will repeal -- republican congress repeal and replace the first day in office and we are past that but he is begging with democrats right now and trying to shift some burden on to the democratic party for what has been a republican goal and democrats want no part of. >> he's in line with the democrats no cutting mark intin and medicare and he needs democratic votes and i don't see how he gets too many. >> obamacare is here to stay. >> joining us is the national correspondent for "the washington post," phil bump. you wrote something about mar-a-lago, nick did as well. >> it's like the mar-a-lago desk here! >> something happened on saturday that i think some people will look at and say this is a real problem. other people will say what is the big deal? tell us what happened. >> i think probably true with everything about donald trump. what happened, essentially, donald trump put or the white house put out a schedule what is he going to be doing and rally in melbourne and put on a lid
and no more events but donald trump went to another event held by mar-a-lago by a fund-raising event. big splashy gala and walked into the room and shook hands and met people and the press didn't find out about it until the next day when a spokesman for the white house informed them that this has happened that he had gone and spoken with all of these folks pi think for a lot of folks to what extent is mar-a-lago serving as an opportunity people to get close to donald trump particularly in this case without someone having a heads-up? >> this is the gist of your piece, right? which is -- yeah. >> if you want face time with the president right now, the single best way to get is to be member or a guest of mar-a-lago, period. if you are a lobbyist in washington, it's impossible to get into the oval office. if you are a lobby for mar-a-lago or have a friend there, you can get 30 second about some idea you have with the president. >> people don't understand. this is a private club but it is
often rented out to outside groups and if they can't get a room they go for mar-a-lago and ballroom and venues there to have a private event. donald trump over the weekend apparently just stops by and mingles with people who are using his property for their outside -- for private events. nick's piece had a lot of good quotes in it but probably the best quote, i would say, comes from a historian named jon meacham. mr. trump's weekend white house appears to be unprecedented in american history as it is the first one with customers paying a company owned by the president several historians said mar-a-lago represents a commercialization of the presidency that has few, if any precedents in american history said jon meacham, presidents have always spent time with the affluent, but a club where people spay you as president so spend time in his company is new. it is kind of amazing. jon meacham, it is seemingly unprecedented and amazing but how does the public lose out if he does this?
>> west when you have a president who is running the country on an improvisational basis which i think we can pretty much accept. trump, himself, thinks that is one of his great strengths, he knows how to react to event in real-time and that his instincts are strong. then whoever can get in front of him, whoever can get his ear at a critical point in a decision-making process or get something so that he can ask a staffer, clearly has an advantage. that is always an advantage with presidents, with politicians. it's why people, frankly, give money to politicians is to be able to make their case to them. but this is a particular form of access and a particular form of putting data into that improvisational contact for the president. and they are writing checks to him for, what, $200,000 a year to a club he owns. so this isn't dwight eisenhower playing golf at augusta.
eisenhower was not the proprioritior of augusta. he just played there. >> i remember there was justified outrage of president clinton renting out the lincoln bedroom and as far as i know he didn't charge them for the privilege of staying there. it seems to me if that caused outrage, i think justified. >> there was a towel fee! >> if that caused justified outrage 20 years ago this is an order of magnitude more glaring, right? >> right i think people remember the story from a week ago of donald trump sitting in the dining room at mar-a-lago and having this apparently confidential conversation with the prime minister of japan in front of everybody. >> with the iphone lights on? >> right. we found it out because people posted it on facebook. look at this. it is a very unusual situation. however, donald trump is in the position he is in because of the deep polarization of american politics right on now and why he
is president of the united states because the republicans came home to him. >> it would be such an easy answers in president trump go to camp david but i don't see that happening because he went to mar-a-lago even for his honeymoon with melania. he wants to go right where he feels at home and he is the king of the court. and he has all of his court gestures around him. >> look. he is a home body. he likes to be in familiar places and not to go somewhere else but eat dinner in his restaurant, his club and his home. the difference is his home has paying customers. it's so weird. >> nick, what is the solution? what is the right public policy solution? don't charge members of the club? shut it down? he shouldn't go there? what is the solution? >> well, look. first of all, have a secure room at the club. >> they do have a skip. they just doesn't go to. >> what is the notion of him mingling with paying members? >> i think he should commit to not talking about policy with them in these instances and
keeping it purely social but i'm not sure he will do that the nature of his presidency and way he does business is ask old friends for advice on big policy issues so it's difficult. >> phil, these are his friends. most of them. not just paying members. most are people he has known a long time so that does make a difference? >> there are reports people considered for ambassadorships that are members of mar-a-lago. one of the things you can also do is have the press be there and see what is going on. right? i understand that donald trump hates the press. i totally get that. he has made that very clear but at the same time, it add a level of transparentsy. we know when he is there and schmoozing. a leaked report in politico over the weekend he is telling folks bedminister you guys should stop by and joking but at the same time it reveals how he feels about that community and so i think it's important for there to be someone there paying attention to what is going on. >> also perhaps published list of members as a promise. it's tough for the members. but this is going to be a place
he does business. i think it's probably -- >> who is he hanging out with. >> we have to stop calling it the winter white house. it's really not the winter white house. it's a club. >> it implies he is working all the time which is not the case. >> phil bump, thank you very much. the deaths of one man is a tragedy, the death of millions is a statistic. our next guest looked at that famous quote to explain how, quote, we come to accept president trump's lies. "the wall street journal's" outspoken brent stevens joins us on "morning joe" after this. when you're close to the people you love, does psoriasis ever get in the way of a touching moment? if you have moderate to severe psoriasis, you can embrace the chance
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welcome back. defense secretary jim mattis made a surprise trip to baghdad amid a bloody fight to reclaim mosul. the defense secretary is making news of his own. let's bring in kristen welker. . >> reporter: you're absolutely right, john. the defense secretary seeming to break with statements made by the president who has said he would look into seizing iraq's oil. well, defense secretary james mattis making it clear that that is not the goal.
an attempt to reassure nervous iraqis about this potential tactic. take a listen to what he said and to past statements to sean spicer. >> i think all of us here in this room, i think all of us in america have generally paid for our gas and oil all along, and i'm sure that we will continue to do so in the future. we are not in iraq to seize anybody's oil. >> the old expression to the victor belong the spoils. i used to always say keep the oil. he wasn't a fan of iraq. i didn't want to go into iraq. but i will tell you, when we were in, we got out wrong. i always said, in addition to that, keep the oil. i said it for economic reasons. if you think about it, mike, if we kept the oil, you probably wouldn't have isis because that is where they made their money in the first place so we should have kept the oil but okay. maybe we will have another chance. but the fact is should have kept the oil.
>> i think what the president has been very clear about in foreign policy is too often the united states is going in with a lot of money, a lot of man powe and many cases losing loss of life and we want to make sure our interests are protected. if we are going into a country for a cause i think he wants to make sure that america is getting something out of it for the commitment and sacrifice that we are making. >> can you unequivocally stayed this country will not send more troops into iraq as the president has put it, "take the on oil"? >> i'm not going to talk about what we may or may not do. the president has made it clear he hasn't telegraphed what is taking options off the table and the way he works and a reason he is scuffle in negotiating he doesn't telegraph to people what he is taking on or off the table. >> that is the critical point. in order to retake the oil, it would likely require sending more troops into iraq. some foreign policy experts have also said that taking iraq's oil
could actually violate the geneva convention. a number of concerns have been raised with it. again, this comes at a critical moment in the fight against isis and, also, as u.s. -- iraqi troops try to reclaim mosul. defense secretary james mattis making that unannounced visit to baghdad and trying to reassure the u.s. allies there that this is not a tactic that americans are going to take, but, of course, the president has said over and over again, he is not going to signal and preview his strategy. so while the defense secretary is saying that this is something that is off the table, again, it's something that we have heard a number of times from the president. so undoubtedly something that will be a topic of debate here at the white house. back to you, guys. >> kristen welker, thank you. donald trump or james mattis, who you going to believe as we roll forward? >> general mattis is correct and nod into the sequence we just showed.
taking at oil is a war crime and you shouldn't confuse the first marine divisions with raids after the civil war easement after watching that exchange one of the things i thought about is the habit in which trump will say something outrageous or nonsensical and then he has all of these what i call trump explainers who go out and tell you, well, how exactly are we going to do this or what the president meant to say was x? you move from sort of what trump says to, well, what trump meant to say, and then to a third order of, well, why can't you criticize this? because he is doing this on behalf of the american people and don't you get that this in the interest of the american people? this is a process that happens with wall or one policy after another. >> joining us now, introduced in classic "morning joe" style by second reference the foreign affairs columnist for "the wall street journal" brett stevens who gave a lecture last week at
ucla. you are the leader or one of the leaders, i'd say, of the never trump movement and editorial side of life. the full lecture is posted on time.com and anyone who is interested in a pretty critique of the president should read it. talk about how daniel pearl's example an mates for you a way of thinking about your view of the president? >> well, danny was just a model journalist and like so many people at the "the wall street journal" or other great american news institutions, for him, you know, the truth was an assemblage of fact. he builted true by assembling the facts. we are living in an era the executive branch of the government is waging a systemic effort to discredit news media, discredit the kind of work that danny did. that was the starting point of the lecture. what i wanted to understand was what are the purposes of trump's
falsehoods or lies? why is it that we come to believe them? and why is it that i think a lot of conservative pundits are at risk of discrediting themselves intellectually by performing the kinds of rationalizations that we were jug talk about. >> why are they accepting things they probably wouldn't accept certainly from a democratic president and you wouldn't think they would accept from anybody? >> that is exactly it. just imagine if president obama in the last week of his presidency could give an interview in which he had said are we that much better than vladimir putin's russia? are we so innocent? well, certain republican conservative pundits would have dined out on that for the next decade as evidence as moral treason by the liberal progressive president. donald trump says it and everyone shrugs their shoulders and says that doesn't seem all right but let's move on. >> mark recommended everybody should go and find the transcript. an incredible speech and worth reading. one of the most amazing things
in it is there is a moment where you're citing an argument that trump made to bill o'reilly and then you locate the roots of that argument in playdo on. i'm not sure many have done that in my mind considered a trump argument with playdo. >> bill o'reilly saying you say things that are not based on fact. donald trump says many people agree with me and is classic -- lots of people say so, so it must be true. you know, in playdo, there is a true that is destroyed by socrates. basically injustice is better than justice and that justice essentially is the advantage of the stronger. there is a kind of analog here that falsehood is better than truth and it's more powerful than truth. that is a powerful fiphilosophil
argument. trump's idea of truth is truth what i can get away with and i'm worried that this seeps into american consciousness. well, he got away with it so, therefore, it's okay. he brazened it out in his press conference. >> time.com, a full transcript of your lecture. this morning, we are diagnosising stockholm. we will ask the former ambassador what went through his mind when the president made his remarks about sweden over the weekend. an attack that did not happen. we will have that for you right after this.
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they are having problems like they never thought possible. >> oh, no! what happened there? did someone blow up sweden's most famous landmark and if they did, what was it? there was just one little problem with what the president said and i think this news clip sums it up. >> we start this hour with an urgent plea from sweden to the u.s. government asking what is your president talking about? >> yeah. >> joining us from washington is former u.s. ambassador to sweden, mark brzezinski. he served in that role from 2011 to 2015 and secured in the national security staff under president clinton. ambassador, clearly you're hooked in with sweden. exactly what did happen in sweden friday night before the president spoke? >> good morning. i can report to you that the most nefarious thing that happened in sweden in this past weekend was technical
difficulties at a music festival and nothing more than that. actually a more serious underpinning what happened this weekend in terms of the president's statements in the sense that it does seem like he is building a narrative on builg a narrative on an informational basis based on what he sees on cable news and news reports. that is a dangerous thing to do as seen by this example. then secondly, it doesn't seem that he's relying on the national security process at the white house. if there had been a terrorist attack in sweden, the president would have been briefed on it by his national security team. that couldn't have happened. there's a more serious underpinning to this as well. >> you served on the nsc staff prior to becoming ambassador to sweden. if something pivotal occurred in sweden or anywhere else in the world having to do with our foreign policy, who would be
contacted in the white house? >> it would be the national security council, first and foremost because the national security -- >> there isn't structure right now. >> that's the point. that's why it seems like the president's speeches are developed on an improvacational basis. that's a bad way to use the bully pulpit. to telegraph to the rest of the world. that's why the swedes and others around the world were befuddled by what the president was talking about. when it comes to things as sensitive as immigration or terrorism, you have to be factually absolutely accurate. there's a process that's in place. the national security council process supported fwi interagency within the federal government. they would first and foremost vet the facts and develop a policy approach to be recommended to the president,
which, at the appropriate time the president could enunciate. that obviously didn't happen here. in certain ways, mike, sweden proves the point that others have been making on your show. sweden did take in hundreds of thousands of immigrants from syria, from yemen, from somalia over the last couple years. they see themselves as a humanitarian superpower. think about that. sweden, 10 million people. about the size of the state of virginia taking in hundreds of thousands of political asigh lees. yes, it's been expensive and difficult, at times, to help move forward the assimilation. they are committed to it. that benefited the country. take a look at the economy, sweden's economy is booming. swedish industries like skype, spotify, minecraft, the tech
industry is doing extremely well. that's a message we have heard from our own tech industry. do not let immigration policies beyond our own obligations affect our economy. >> i have a question for you. in a follow up tweet, the president seemed to blame the information on a fox news report on some kind of immigrant crime wave in sweden. is there accuracy to the underlying problem he was talking about there, some kind of crime wave there? >> i saw that. it was good the president immediately tweeted to clarify. the crime statistics, the crime rates in sweden have been relatively constant over the last ten years. there's been no up tick in any major way. the biggest up tick is in computer fraud, in a place like sweden. it's important to recognize that american diplomats in sweden have telegraphed this message
that america embraces immigrants and it's been good for us. i think that to undercut that important message when the swedes really, in certain ways, are providing an important international service and through their generosity and allowing people to come in. remember, immigrants from somalia or yemen have to by pass a lot of countries to get to sweden. to undercut that message in certain ways, i think is a certain mistake. >> ambassador brzezinski, you were speaking about your time on the national security council and you certainly understand the role the process plays at the white house. it's unlikely that donald trump is ever going to want the kind of process that president's have relied upon. so far, he's rejected the national security making process. how do you see it proceeding if he continues to reject any kind
of national security policymaking process? >> the national security policymaking process there is there to help him handle the superfast and massive undertaking of the responsibility of the world's only superpower and developing a global approach. the fact is, no one person or no just a couple people can do this alone. it's -- there are too many news developments and it's too fast to build policy on an informational basis. i would suggest that process be embraced. the staffers on the national security council are the best and the brightest and they are there to vet for accuracy and the most strategic approach to advance the american interest. it should be utilized in a forthright way and to reinforce the most positive messages we can make to our allies and
partners. and not to under cut those messages. >> thank you very much. >> thank you. the president's war with the media. he calls the press the, quote, enemy of the american people. the white house usually tries to explain away those type of remarks from the president. not this time. we'll have their reaction and defense after this. did you know 90% of couples disagree on mattress firmness? fortunately there's a bed where you both get what you want every night. enter sleep number and the ultimate sleep number event, going on now. sleepiq technology tells you how well
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many presidents fought with the media and called them out oftentimes on their lies. when the media lies to people, i will never, ever let them get away with it. i will do whatever i can that they don't get away with it. thomas jefferson said nothing can be believed which is seen in a newspaper. truth itself, he said, they become suspicious by being put in that polluted vehicle. that was june 14th, my birthday, 1807. >> well, good morning. that was the president speaking at his campaign event on friday. actually saturday in florida. just a little context with that quote, though. "the washington post" and others have noted, when president
thomas jefferson wrote that letter he was in reports of opponents spreading stories he was sleeping with sally hemmings, a slave. today, most historians believe he was the mother of six of his children and months before the constitutional convention and throughout his career, jefferson's view of newspapers, quite different. in fact, before the constitutional convention when debating what role newspapers and the media should have, thomas jefferson wrote, were it left to me to decide should we have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, i should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter. just a little context this morning. speaking of presidents. good morning, it's monday, february 20th, presidents' day. mika and willie have the morning off.
my gosh, what a huge, political weekend. you know, in case of emergency, you break glass, we broke glass because of the political emergency over the weekend and brought in the co-authors of "game change" mark halperin and john heilemann. we have mike barnicle. >> oh, yeah. >> contributor to "design" magazine and former aide to the george w. bush white house and state department, elise jordan. in washington, jon meacham. mark halperin, let's start with the press. of course, as always with donald trump, he takes it one step too far. a couple weeks ago, i think a lot of republicans, i don't think, i know, a lot of republicans on capitol hill were really frightened and spooked when he went after federal
judges. they told me that behind the scenes. he did what dictators do when they first get in power and start attacking the press. he called the media, quote, the enemy of the american people. any precedence for that at all? i can tell you, republicans on the hill were absolutely horrified with what he said. >> nixon is the closest precedent. this is a dominating story at home and abroad over the weekend. we are going start with what has been the dominant story. it was set off on friday by president trump. we are used to seeing him tweet saturday mornings. this is a friday tweet. the fake news media, failing new york times, nbc news, abc, cnn, is not my enemy, is the enemy of the american people. lots of people took aim with
with that. reince priebus said there's nothing to worry about. >> should we take it seriously with him? >> i think you should. we are talking bogus stories like the one in the new york times, we have constant contact with russian officials. the next day, the wall street journal had the story the intel community is not giving the president a full intelligence briefing. both stories grossly inaccurate, overstated, overblown and total garbage. we spend 48 hours on bogus stories and the american people suffer. >> the enemy? >> if theory is that the press is supposed to be a free forum of information to speak to the american people, i think it ought to be accurate. >> there's nothing wrong with people in both parties as they have done for years, taking issue with what the press has done for accuracy. members of the president's party, disagreement with what he
said. so did one of the highest ranking members. defense secretary, james mattis. >> sir, president trump said this week that the press is the enemy of the american people. do you agree? >> i have had some rather contentious times with the press, but no. the press are a constituency we deal with. i don't have any issues with the press, myself. >> i have great respect for the press. i was once in the press. the key, though, is not to be oversensationalizing anything, get to the facts. let the investigation of the press go where it wants, tell the story. it's a part of america. it's a part of an institution that works to make sure things have balance. >> i hate the press. i hate you, especially, but the fact is, we need you.
we need a free press. we must have it. it's vital. if you want to preserve democracy as we know it, you have to have a free press. without it, i'm afraid we would lose so much of our individual liberties over time. that's how dictators get started. >> that's how dictators get started with tweets like that? >> no, they get started by suppressing a free press. i'm not saying that president trump is trying to be a dictator, i'm saying we need to learn the lessons of history. >> how is this trump generated controversy in terms of what he did. >> he's been waging the war of the press. this language is far outside. it's not like nixon. enemy of the people is far outside the standard republican
playbook of attacking people like nick at "the new york times" and other places. you know, they take offense when they are criticized and challenged. part of the reason you are seeing this bipartisan inside the trump administration is it's beyond the pale. joe, my question for you is, most people at this table were alive and politically conscious at the time of the oklahoma city bombings. every time trump used this language, i was worried it's an insightment to elements of our country to go ahead and do something when the president of the united states calls the press the enemy of the people, they might take it seriously. does that concern you? >> well, you know, the thing is, you try to take a lot of what you get, the incoming in stride. a lot of people love to retweet
the death threats they get and the nasty things they get. when you receive tweets every day and somebody is threatening your life and they talk about lynching you and your family after president trump has his way with the media, this happens over and over again. i don't think there's anybody that's in the media that doesn't hear that every day. so, yes, there are unbalanced people on the left. there are unbalanced people on the right. there are unbalanced people that support donald trump as well. yeah, this is very, very dangerous. as chris wallace said yesterday, i thought significant, on fox news sunday, the president crossed a line. we republicans, talking about myself, you know, i hear john mccain saying, you know, i hate you. i hate the press. he's not joking. we grow up with the press being biased and beating us up and always giving our democratic
opponent every benefit of the doubt. that's part of the playing field. it's one thing to say the press is liberal. it's one thing to say the ninth circuit is liberal. when you start saying that somebody is an enemy of the people, that does insight people to violence especially if it's coming from the president of the united states. mike barnicle, what is so rich about donald trump talking about fake news and reince priebus talking about stories that are inaccurate, there's a president who, from the second he got into office was lying about crowd sizes that were verifyably false, if you look at satellite images, lied last week in a press conference about having the largest electoral college victory since ronald reagan, that was a lie. lied about the crime rate being at a 47% high when it was a low.
of course the terror attack in sweden this weekend. i mean, jesus said, you know, don't throw stones if you live in glass houses. this man lives in the biggest glass house there is when it comes to a disconnection to truth. so, to attack the media, then say they are enemies of the people is beyond the pale. >> you know, joe, the media, my view is, we need no defense. our defense occurs each and every day that a newspaper is printed in a big city or small town in this country. >> or fire up the cameras here. >> yeah. >> the evidence is, in what we have done through history, help bring wars like vietnam to full focus for the american people, help people on an every day basis. the problem here, the danger is when he says the fake news media is the enemy of the american people. that's a slow slide to immigrants are the enemy of the american people.
unions are the enemy of the american people. people in massachusetts and new hampshire or any other state that didn't vote for me, trump, are the enemy of the american people. it's a slow slide to that, i would submit. >> look, people are my boss. i work for them. they are a tough boss but i'm not their enemy, i'm their employee. that's the importance of journalism in america. i think it's atrocious to see him do this. it's a way of pushing accountability of his own mistakes and problems away from the white house. >> still ahead on "morning joe," as we do every monday on this show, we are going to talk about what happened in sweden this weekend. of course, things got very, very ugly. pray for stockholm. anyway, the president played it fast and loose with facts, big shock there. people prepare for widespread flooding and landslides. you are watching "morning joe." we'll be right back. want longer lasting heartburn relief?
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welcome back to "morning joe." john, tell us about the plight of our friends, our dear friends in sweden. >> the plight is incredible and distressing. president trump left the people of sweden scratching its head after alluding to a terrorist attack to justify the travel ban and other immigration policies at a rally in florida over the weekend. >> we have to keep our country safe. look at what's happening. we have to keep our country safe. you look at what's happening last night in sweden. sweden. who would believe this? sweden. they took in large numbers, they are having problems like never thought possible. >> who would believe this? sweden. fortunately, there was no attack. some incidents did occur across the country, put it was a man
setting himself on fire in stockholm, a singer who experienced technical difficulties during rehearsals for competition. besides that, it was a quiet evening in sweden. the embassy released a statement saying we don't have information regarding what president trump was referring to in his speech and we don't want to speculate. we have asked u.s. officials for an explanation. sweden, terror attack? what has he been smoking. the president said my statement was in reference to a story broadcast on fox news concerning immigrants in sweden, end quote. that is part of a segment friday night with a documentary film maker following an influx of immigrants. here is part of what they aired.
>> perhaps no nation on earth is more committed to accepting more migrants than sweden. they accepted 160,000. if they are not able to work, they commit crimes. one went to sweden to chronicle the refugee experience. >> the violence spreading across sweden? >> at least one or two times a week. >> five years ago how often would you say it was? >> three times a year. >> i like that music. so trump's sweden comments have them recalling other incidents where they cited nonexistent terror attacks. >> i bet there was little coverage. i bet it's brand-new information to people that problem had a six-month ban on the iraqi refugee after two iraqis came here to this country, were
radicalized and were behind that. it didn't get covered. >> i don't think you have to look further than the families of the boston marathon in atlanta and san bernardino to ask if we can go further. there are steps we can and should be taking. the president is going to continue to do what he can to make sure this country is as safe as possible. >> he meant orlando, not atlanta. kellyanne tweeted honest mistakes abound. john mn meacham, you have a tre story here. what do you make of this pattern on the behavior of the president and his people? >> there was the phrase in the art of the deal that trump says he doesn't make things up, he speaks in truthful hyperbole. he's trapped in creating his own
narrative. it's only been six days, seven days? lez time than it took god to make the world since mike flynn resigned. now, we are worried about the crisis of the first amendment. 24-48 hours ago, it was russia. now it's the future of free speech. lord knows what he'll say in the next little while. so, one of the questions i have, just for the political metabolism of the country is, can we continue at this rate? it's in the president's interest because as we go from squirmish to squirmish to squirmish, we don't have time to stop and take a full assessment. chris wallace said he crossed a line. i think we are way past lines. there are none. so, the question is, you know, this balance between eternal individual lens, another thomas
jefferson quote, which is more relevant, it's the price of liberty. the conflict between that and just becoming exhausted by this. >> coming up on "morning joe," an increasingly uncomfortable homecoming for republican legislatures. they are getting an earful at town hall meetings even in deep red states like south carolina. that's still to come, straight ahead, when we return. the future of business in new york state is already in motion. companies across the state are growing the economy, with the help of the lowest taxes in decades, a talented workforce, and world-class innovations. like in plattsburgh, where the most advanced transportation is already en route. and in corning,
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there are so many contradictions in this administration and actually, i think that's the biggest problem. the right hand doesn't know what the left hand is ever doing. donald trump comes out and says one thing about mosul, then is contradicted by somebody on the staff. talk about the mosul contradiction this weekend. i could list 100 of them, starting with the press, trump and mattis. let's talk about mosul. >> this is a big contradiction and involves something serious. iraqi forces have begun their
latest forces outside of mosul. it comes, as we said, divisions within the trump administration exist over whether information should be revealed in advance of efforts to fight american opposition forces over seas. during thursday's news conference, president trump pushed back when asked to offer details of the battle plans. >> i'm not going to talk about the response. i don't say i'm going into mosul in four months. i don't do that. three months later, we are going to attack. next week, we are going to attack. in the meantime, mosul is very, very difficult. you know why? because i don't talk about military and i don't talk about certain other things. >> the commander in chief says never talk about the plans in advance. then yesterday, u.s. central command announced the beginning of this long, anticipated operation to overtake mosul.
it will be a tough fight for any army in the world. you recall, during the campaign, president trump hammered former president barack obama for announcing operations against isis, including in mosul before they got under way. >> what you do is a sneak attack or a surprise attack, right? right? we are too predictable. here is obama, we believe they are in mosul so in three or four months, let's see, he goes, three or four months, we will be attacking mosul because we want to get the leaders of isis. okay. well, in the meantime, the following day, they are out of there. look at mosul. for years i have heard that's where the isis leaders are. they are staying at mosul. so, what do we do? instead of element of surprise, what do we do? what a disaster. >> why can't we do it like
secretly? right? why can't we do this quietly? i have been reading about we are going to attack mosul now and you have, too, for three months. i'm saying you know the element of surprise, right? >> joe, is this some media nitpicking or expose something about the campaign promise and practice of the president? >> i think what it does is shows, once again, there's a huge difference between running for president and being president. barack obama swore he was going to shut down gitmo right away. he was there eight years and figured out he couldn't shut down gitmo. elise jordan, the president campaigns like it's 1944 and he's going to have a sneak attack across the english channel for "d" day. it's 2017. there are satellites all over the place. there is no sneak attack in the middle of the desert.
if you move troops around, everybody is going to know that. we are going to have a sneak attack. nope, not even in the middle of the night. there is no sneak attack. this is donald trump talking big on the campaign trail. learning what all presidential candidates learn, it's tougher once you are in there. >> joe, this rhetoric bothered me on the campaign trail. it showed no curiosity and understanding of what it's like for a modern military to wage a battle like this. what's more concerning is he's actually commander in chief and making the exact same statements and hasn't tried to fill that knowledge vacuum at all. no curiosity about the operations where we have substantial number of american forces helping iraqi forces on the ground there. coming up on "morning joe," california nice. one of the cop republicans say to be aware of provoking the
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welcome back to "morning joe." happy presidents' day to everybody. all of us at "morning joe" this morning, obviously, would like you all to keep in your thoughts and your minds people of sweden. celebrate by going to ikea, listening to abba. there you go, swedish fish. >> it's a distress signal. >> yeah, it is. let's run that up the flag pole. >> pray for the swedish fish. >> you are a great american. as john f. kennedy said, i am a swedish jelly doughnut. as we said before, going to
break, mark, one of the top leaders in the house of representatives basically issued a warn thag you might see in a county zoo that is holding wolverines. do not provoke the wolverine. in this case, it was not an animal in the county zoo, but the warning had to do with the president of the united states. tell us about it. >> that's right. with that story, 3,000 miles away, from "the new york times," adam. he focuses on the house majority leader, republican kevin mcrthy, who represents cafornia. in an interview, he left no doubt that his loyalties in this fight between california and washington were east of the mississippi river. he sailed california's democratic leaders for provoking the president and it could be damaging to the state particularly as they create an
infrastructure program. look, i will respect my district and represent my state he said, but what they are doing, they are playing with fire, talking about the democrats. donald trump is not going out in any way or form to attack california. they, the democrat, are attacking california right now. they are putting californians at risk in every shape and form and they are doing it to make a political point, which is wrong. adam, kevin mccarthy is in a tough position, a republican in leadership, representing california. is he sending a signal to the democrats? what is his posture for how he would like to represent the state? >> i think one thing is he's very safe. his district is very republican and voted 60% for trump. >> a red area? >> right. a small red island in the bluest state in the country. i think he is sort of making clear there's going to be a fight between democrats in california and his friend the
president. he is siding with the president and saying there's a lot of risk for people like jerry brown. they can't to attack trump, threaten to take him to court and i think he's been clear what side he will take. i wonder if there's a strategic element as well that if trump begins to do things to punish california, cut off funds, you know. >> give them a piece of the infrastructure. >> that's the best example. he won't take the blame. >> joe, you know kevin mccarthy well. how do you think he's positioned as the most powerful republican in a republican city from the biggest, most powerful state? >> i know kevin well. i also know politics very well and presidents punish a -- president's will punish certain legislatures, they will punish certain states. look at lbj, ford.
what shocks me, again, not only with this warning, but also everything that's happened over the past three or four weeks, the crudeness of everything that is done in the name of trump. the crudeness in attacking the media. it's not just enough to call them biased or fake. you have to say they are the enemy. the crudeness in attacking federal judges. it's not enough to say the ninth circuit is liberal and out of touch with america, you have to question a judges legitimacy. and here, you have kevin mccarthy, the majority leader trying to chill the scent in california. some things are best left unsaid. this is nothing new in washington. what's new is the crude warnings. >> adam, what is the basis of mccarthy's relationship to the administration? >> he was one of the first people to endorse trump. if anything, as i recall, after the groping incident, he's been
very close. a time paul ryan was endorsing him, he did endorse him. what joe said, what the democrats in california have done is not really attack. it's disproportionality here. they haven't attacked trump personally, some of them have, if you come after us on obamacare/aca, if you try to penalize sanctuary cities, we'll fight back. >> big blue state, increasingly blue, mccarthy is secure. >> yeah. i learned never to say that. if you look at a democrat in that district, people really like him there. i think the democrats are probably targeted in the past. the republican members of congress are going to be targeted in 2018. i don't think he will be one to go. >> everybody has to do their job. kevin mccarthy has a district to
represent. senator harris. senator finestein have a state to represent. this is, everybody has to be free to express their opinions. there's just no need to issue handed threats. members of congress returned home for a week long legislative recess. some republicans, once again, were met with angry constituents. in south carolina, mark sanford and tim scott at a joint town hall where they faced 200 people and they grilled the legislatures for four hours. it ranked from health care, tax and education. good for them for staying and doing their job. in western new york state, tom reid was met bay crowd to large, the event was moved outside into the parking lot. >> i'm here to listen. ideas on health care.
let me throw one out there. i am very supportive of. how about -- how about our -- where do people stand -- >> trump taxes. trump taxes. >> i was actually following this this weekend. i said i like this guy. he's in there. he's engaged. he knows it's his job to listen to people who might decent from his point of view, sometimes loudly. he stayed there. then i figured out, the reason why is because he represents my old hometown, big flats, new york. a lot of people don't nowhere that is. congressman tom reid joins us live from rochester, new york. from a former constituent of your district, i say good morning and welcome to "morning joe." what a wild weekend this weekend. >> well, thanks for having me on, joe.
great shout out. it was a great experience and we'll continue to be successful listening to people. >> a lot of your fellow republican members didn't go out this weekend. you did go out. tell them what they are missing by not going out and having this back and forth that you had with your constituents. >> well, you know, i respect every members decision on how they represent themselves, but for us, this works. this is the corner stone of our belief. we have done 200 town halls. to represent people, you have to listen to them. i care deeply about their opinion and input. i want to be their voice in washington, d.c. you can only do that by listening to them. >> what were you going to say to the crowd before you were shut down. you were asking the question, where do you stand on -- you were going to mention some specific issue. >> yeah, where i was going was to try to get feedback from the proposals we are discussing about health saving reforms, tax
credit as part of the replacement of obamacare. empower people to choose the health care that works for them. obviously, we didn't have that exchange at that point and time. we spent almost five hours in town halls this weekend. there was a lot of positive feedback. once people started hearing more information. a lot of misinformation out there. >> when i spoke to kevin mccarthy, i asked whether or not he was having town hall meetings. he talked of having teletown hall meetings or small meetings with districts. he did not want to encounter what you encountered. do you think it would be better off for him to get a sense of the debate going on in the nation to hold a public meeting like the way you did? >> i put our conduct out there for other people, potentially to take a look at. it's up to them to represent their districts. we use all avenues of being accessible. using technology, small groups,
large groups. i like being there with the people, talking to them face-to-face and getting their input. i guess that comes from being from a family of 12 and raised by a single mom. we had to talk all the time. >> congressman reed, i'm curious, you said in a previous interview, this is a level of passion you have never seen before at one of these meetings. if this level of passion sustains, what do you think that means for the trump administration and do you see or do you think this is something that is a momentary flash point and, you know, could calm down over the next couple of months? >> i do believe there's a possibility of it calming down. i think there was a lot of disbelief that president trump won. they did not ever realize he would be the president of the united states and there's a lot of fear, a lot of anxiety out there. as we deliver for the american people, as we put solutions
together and enact opportunities for people back in their district, in our district and across the country, solutions will unite this country and alleviate this pressure. >> congressman, you said you were a member of a family of 12, raised by a single mother. that's staggering just to contemplate that. where are the republican roots in a family of 12 being raised by a single mother? >> i tell you, my mom -- my dad was career military. that was obviously passed down to us. my mom was always about self-reliance. you can either get up and dam life orem brace it and make the best of it. she was a believer. unleash the power of us as individuals and people. >> wow. >> congressman, i wonder if you learned what i always learned. i held tons of town hall meetings. sometimes it got loud, not quite
that loud. it's funny, when you actually talk to people who were shouting at you and chanting at you and you go up and engage, i find usually they stop shouting, then start talking and you can move toward common ground. in some of the pictures i saw you tweet out, it looked like that is exactly what happened. you actually went into the storm and people respected that fact and you actually learned from them and they learned from you. >> amen, joe. amen. you know, we cut through the rhetoric. we cut through the disruption. we stayed there and engaged in the conversation. i sincerely want to find that common ground. we must come together to solve the problems. the problems are not going to be solved by partisan divide. when you have that conversation, inevitably leads to a conversation because we are all human beings and looking for solutions and we care deeply about each other. >> congressman tom reed, thank you.
thank you so much for your service to this country. adam, thank you as well. greatly appreciate it. just ahead on "morning joe," what's up for syria? we are going to talk to a correspondent from vice news. dodged sniper fire in syria to try to get answers to that important question. that's next on "morning joe." y . that's why i have the spark cash card from capital one. with it, i earn unlimited 2% cash back on all of my purchasing. and that unlimited 2% cash back from spark means thousands of dollars each year going back into my business... which adds fuel to my bottom line. what's in your wallet? for patients like lynn, advanced genomic testing may lead to other treatment options that can work. learn how genomic testing is changing the way
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it's being hit by what forecasters are calling the most powerful storm of the season. now people are bracing for mudslides, flash floods and powerful wind gusts. let's go to miguel almaguer who is right in the middle of things. >> reporter: good morning. after five years of drought, now the extreme opposite. a deluge that won't quit here. we are expecting torrential rain and pounding wind throughout the day. the middle of a storm system that is just getting started. overnight, the leading edge of another devastating storm expected to drop five inches of rain and bring 65-mile-an-hour wind gusts to san francisco. the bay area is bracing for rivers to rise again, roads to flood and the potential for rock and mudslides to bury homes. in the city of maxwell, where floodwaters swamped 50 houses over the weekend, residents returned just in time to evacuate again.
>> some people already have four or five inches of water in their house. they say it's not worth sandbagging, the damage is done. >> reporter: 50 miles away, all eyes on oroville and the race to release water from the stressed reservoir behind california's biggest dam. up to ten inches of rain expected. the surging river will be on the rise. in los angeles, they are cleaning up after the most powerful storm in years. a month worth of rain in a single day. the deadly weekend storm killing at least five, triggering water rescues and massive power outages. sinkholes swallowed cars and drivers while freeways collapse, breaking apart beneath a fire truck. >> hopefully this will be the last big one. you never know. it's chaos. >> reporter: now it's northern california in the cross hairs. the start of a two-day deluge,
promising to deliver a nasty punch. with the torrential rain just getting started here in the bay area, up in the mountains they can see up to five feet of snow and blizzard conditions. we are expecting airport delays, power outages and trees down across this region. mark, back to you. >> thank you. in a moment, we are going to get a firsthand account of what may happen in syria as they are poised to gain control of the country. first, here is the daily look at the ground we have covered so far. >> enemy of the people is far outside the standard republican playbook of attacking. >> he actually did what dictators do. >> a slow slide to immigrants are the enemy. >> what we are seeing here is self-pity as almost performance art. >> a way of pushing accountability away from the white house. >> every president hates the press. >> look at what's happening last night in sweden. >> i can report to you the thing
that happened in sweden was technical difficulties at the music festival. >> this is moving at such a speed, it seems unsustainable. >> chris walla said he crossed a line. we are way past lines. >> some of president trump's associations are working on lifting sanctions against russia. >> reuters looking at front businesses. >> i think it's something that can hijack their agenda for two years. >> the russians are having severe buyers remorse. >> the justice hillary clinton blames for her loss is a big threat to donald trump's administration. >> this presidency is running on two tracks, the white house and the senior staff and the cabinet. >> the president's own personal lawyer acting as de facto secretary of sate. >> this is no way to run a state department. >> trump says things then has trump explainers that say he
meant, x. >> i like the trump cabinet rising up to tell the world, pay no attention to the president. >> it's been a big day. we have one more story, about the season premier of vice on hbo. it's called "assad one." traveled to the government controlled territory to meet with the fighters, keeping the dictator in power. [ speaking foreign language ] >> that sounded really, really close. do you get scared? [ speaking foreign language ] >> here she is, isabel joins us now, the host of the season five
premier. thank you for coming in. aleppo, you were there before the city fell. it seemed like it was a hairy situation. tell us what it was like. >> it was hairy. we were talking going in, when we got there, the government had taken a supply road. there were hundreds of mortars landed in the first 24 hours. sniper corners throughout the city. it was bizarre. life was going on as normal on the government side despite all the war surrounding them. >> in this documentary, you couldn't get anyone to go on the record criticizing assad's government. what were they telling you behind the scenes? >> unsurprisingly, we were there on the government side. anyone who is there is not willing to criticize the government because it puts their lives at risk. is most candid and interesting moments were the ones spoken off
the record or in confidence. there was a moment one of assad's national security guards mentioned this is a 1984 state. so, i think those are some of the most revealing times. >> given the length of the sustained assault in aleppo and other rebel strongholds in syria, specifically aleppo, your programming tonight, assad won. what did he win? >> it's a good question. complete disruption throughout the country. he's got a grip on the cities, aleppo and damascus. he's basically won what seems like the remaining population. as you were saying, no one is able to go on the record to criticize him. so, the population that remains there is devoutly loyal to the regime. >> you were in aleppo, went to damascus. the city i'm interested in is
homs. what does that look like? >> a movie set. it's completely apock liptic. i couldn't believe it walking down the street. it's a ghost city. there's buildings just tumbling in on each other. everyone we spoke to there was saying nothing happened here. the government is not to blame at all for the atrocities that took place. it's starting to trickle back to the neighborhoods and move back in and start to pick up their lives as they let go about five or six years ago. >> is there a legitimate affection for assad amongst the people or bas on fear and intimidation? >> that's a thing we were trying to figure out. it's tough. when grow in under dictatorship, to what extent are they loyal and not able to speak out. we saw moments of people that were passional to defend their country and their president and the situation they were in.
they felt assad was the best protector given the security concerns. on the other hand, there were moments when people sort of voiced their concerns to us, mostly off the record about how fearful they were about what the government is capable of. they know they are being performed on the rebel side as we have seen in aleppo. >> thank you for coming in here and thank you for doing that reporting and for all you do. assad won premiers friday, february 24th at 11:00 p.m. on hbo. everyone should watch that. sthak does it this morning for "morning joe." three hours of programming, not a single tweet from the president. maybe we did something wrong. tomorrow, back here in the studio, mika, willie and joe right here and swedish fish. thanks for watching. have a great presidents' day. stephanie ruhle picks up the coverage pronto. stephanie? >> thank you, mark. thank you, john.
hi there, i'm stephanie ruhle. so much to cover. the russia connection. a senate committee demanding the white house preserve all materials related to russia, just hours after a mystery meeting with fbi director, james comey while team trump is pushing back. >> they will issue the report and the report will say there's nothing there. >> nasty deportations. the secretary of homeland security signing off on two distinct memos expanding the power to detain and deport undocumented immigrants. >> the gang members, bad, bad people, get them the hell out of here. >> plus, the attack that wasn't. president trump sparking new controversy with this comment. >> you look at what's happening last night in sweden. sweden. who would believe this. sweden. >> people are joking, i'm saying it's not funny. nothing actually